Lots of people are comparing the DNC and RNC speeches by the respective nominees, using all sorts of snazzy methods.
Foreign Policy Passport has Wordle clouds of all four speeches; as does The Glittering Eye (with common English words included, whereas FP removed them). Things that occur to me when looking at those clouds:
- Obviously, each speech had its own purpose and so needs to be evaluated in light of that. For instance, Palin needed to introduce herself to the country in a way that none of the others did, while also rallying behind her Presidential nominee. So, it’s not surprising that the only name to figure in her cloud is John McCain.
- The words “George” and “Bush” appear for both Obama and Biden, but not for the Republicans. Gee, I wonder why?
- Lots of tough talk in McCains cloud – “fight”, “fought”, “tough”, etc.
- Biden balanced between beating the drum for Obama and criticising McCain.
- Obama was mentioned relatively little by McCain and Palin.
- God made it in there for McCain but not Obama. Democrats really are heretics.
Some other people are having fun with word-counting. The Associated Press’s Ron Fournier, who seems to be building a reputation as the US election’s Dennis Shanahan, crunched the numbers for Senator Clinton’s speech last week – using the number of times she said some variation of the pronoun “I” as an index of her ego. Fortunately, someone saved him the trouble of doing it for John McCain – who used more than 200 self-references in a 50-minute speech.
At The Volokh Conspiracy, Jim Lindgren has been analysing the nominees’ use of sarcasm, attacks, etc. – he argues that the speeches (particularly Palin’s) have been misrepresented in the media.
There is likely to be plenty of focus on the tracking polls over the coming days as well, with the pundits looking for signs of a Narrowing(TM) or a bounce for one side or the other. In commenting on a new tracking poll system that relies on only a sample of 300 respondents, Matt Yglesias makes the point that the dodgier the poll, the more likely it is to make news.